The subject of energy has given us some knockabout fun in the letters pages recently. Good for circulation perhaps, but hardly what the Observer’s readership needs as we face escalating bills, fuel poverty, and worries about keeping the lights on - all of these symptoms of a complex problem which does not yield to sound-byte answers. Putting the world to rights on everything from population growth to nuclear power, each in a pithy paragraph, is little more than a pub conversation, best forgotten in the morning. We deserve better!
For readers wanting actual facts about this subject, try “Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air” David MacKay’s excellent book available as a free download from www.withouthotair.com.
On the vexed subject of climate change, I’m not a climate scientist, and nor, I suspect, are the Observer’s other correspondents. So we should look for a balanced opinion from a well-informed source. The Washington Post - hardly the mouthpiece of the Green Movement - concluded “Climate-change deniers are wilfully ignorant, lost in wishful thinking, cynical or some combination of the three.” And that tends to show up as inaction – the convenient conclusion when you believe there is no problem or that if there is, a mysterious “someone else” will solve it. That’s why the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” did the unlikely double of Oscar and Nobel prize – because in this case the truth isn’t convenient, and we have to do something. Happily we can, here in Rye, and bring real benefit to the community.
So, a group of us propose that Rye becomes a Transition Town, joining over 1000 other communities taking the initiative on energy - using it efficiently, producing it locally under community ownership, and so creating local jobs and investment, and lower energy bills. The tradition in the UK is to leave this to government and big utilities, but there is growing evidence we are being short-changed by this approach. We are planning an Energy Day in the autumn where we will have visiting speakers from towns already doing this. It will be a chance for Rye people to share ideas and opinions and figure out what we want. Watch this space for further publicity!
Sandy Rodger, Chairman, Transition Rye.